The impact of losing a player like Patrice Bergeron is far more devastating than it would be with a lesser player. It isn’t like losing just one guy. More like three or four.

Bergeron was sent to an area hospital with an unidentified injury in the second period of last night’s Game 5, and did not return. Without him, the B’s lost, 3-1, and face a do-or-die Game 6 tomorrow night at the Garden.

If Bergeron can’t make a miraculous return — which seems pretty improbable given the fact that he left the United Center last night in an ambulance — it makes a tough challenge against a very strong opponent so much more difficult.

Because with no Bergeron the Bruins would be minus their top goalscorer in the series, the No. 1 faceoff man in the postseason, one of the strongest shutdown defensive forwards in the NHL, and a top penalty-killer.

Generally speaking, this is just a guy with a magic knack for doing big things at big moments. If the B’s hope to stay alive and come back here for a Game 7, that’s the kind of magic they’re going to need.
“You can’t replace a guy like that,” said Bruin Rich Peverley. “He’s one of the best players in the league at what he does.”

Bruins coach Claude Julien was predictably uninformative about Bergeron’s status. But presumably, the B’s would use the same plan tomorrow night that went into effect when he stiffly left the ice last night. That meant taking Carl Soderberg, who was making his NHL playoff debut as a fourth-line winger — and turning him into a second-line center.

Soderberg’s relative lack of speed makes it tough for him against an extremely fast team like the Blackhawks, but he did a pretty decent job last night — especially considering that he hadn’t played in months. The big Swede was 4-5 on faceoffs, had three hits and two shots, and showed a good stick on two backchecks to steal pucks.

“Hopefully I’m on the wing the next game, so Bergy is back,” Soderberg said.